north-florida

Imagine a bad sweater party with all of the Freelancers.

  • Wash has (you guessed it) a fuzzy grey and yellow cat sweater.
  • South’s sweater has a middle finger on the front and it flips off anyone who looks at it
  • York’s “ugly” sweater is a normal shirt with a mirror on the front. you can figure that one out.
  • Maine wore a sweater and just wrapped a whole string of christmas lights around himself. It was a hugely dangerous fire hazard looking back on it but everything turned out okay and it was worth it.
  • Florida literally covered himself in tinsel and glittery garland. He looked like an annoying diamond and when he stood near Maine he turned into an actual disco ball.
  • Connie showed up in the classic paneled sweater, each square depicting a lovely yet horribly unattractive holiday themed design.

Florida and North took knitting requests for anyone who found they were short of an ugly sweater and the turnout was:

  • Carolina ended up wearing an I Heart NY sweater (obviously requested for by York) 
  • North wore his itchy and obnoxiously purple“Team Dad” sweater, made by Florida
  • Florida knitted Wyoming a sweater that was literally a compilation of horrible mustache puns

Always remember you are a guest in their home. This bull gator, who I estimate was a hair over 12ft, reminded me that of that fact recently. 

American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, FL

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Hi, this is my best friend, Sammi.

Sammi is a green cheek conure that went missing around 6-7pm on the 17th of July, 2014. He got startled and flew into some woods behind my house in Flora Park.

If anyone in the Yulee, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, or Jacksonville, Florida area spots him, please notify me immediately.

He is an average sized conure. He is mostly green with white and black around his neck and some of his chest. There is a small patch of rust-red feathers on the lower part of his belly. His tail feathers are red. The inside of his wing feathers are blue. His feet are a mixture of gray and pink.

He knows how to say his name (albeit poorly) as well as “Step up!” and “Whatcha doin?” but tends to be shy about speaking around strangers. So if you hear him, it will probably just be screeches or squawks.

He loves sliced apples and may fly to you if you have them. He dislikes men and will fly over and attack them.

Email at: yayfreemail2@hotmail.com
Or contact me here.

Please, please, please signal boost. I know the likelihood of tumblr finding him is slim, but I will do anything to know he is safe.

Current Work in Herpetology:

Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better for Hurdling Obstacles

by Elizabeth Preston

Although lizards mostly scurry on all fours, certain species can run on two legs when the mood strikes. What’s the benefit to this human-like running style?

For one thing, it seems to let lizards get over obstacles without slowing down. They just have to make sure not to tip over.

Georgia Southern University biologist Lance McBrayer and graduate student Seth Parker studied running in a handsome little reptile called Sceloporus woodi, or the Florida scrub lizard.

McBrayer says there’s been a lot of research into lizard species that always run on two feet. But lizards that switch between a two- and four-legged stance while running are more mysterious. Some scientists have suggested that it’s just a product of the lizards’ long bodies and acceleration—in other words, that they’re forced up onto their back legs like an airplane near the end of its runway.

McBrayer and Parker trapped four dozen wild lizards from the Ocala National Forest in Florida. They brought the lizards, all male, back to the lab. There, they put the lizards onto a miniature, rectangular racetrack. The track was built out of wood, with packed sand on its floor…

(read more: Inkfish Blog - Discover Magazine)

photograph by Bob Peterson | Flickr

A trip down memory lane to North Florida’s Turpentine Days

By Clifford Davis

In Florida’s not-so-distant past, before strip malls and subdivisions, an industry thrived here in which rough men did even rougher work in the state’s seemingly limitless and hazardous pine forests: Turpentine.

Until the late 20th century, men still toiled in the steamy Florida summers when the “gum” and rattlesnakes run best. The citrus-like aroma of the sap wafted through the woods on sultry winds mixing with the smell of sweat and beasts of burden.

Originally done mostly by small landowners, what would become the state’s second-largest industry developed as corporations bought and leased vast tracts of pine forest and set up turpentine camps that eventually pervaded the state.

[Continue reading article at jacksonville.com.]

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Florida’s Three Sisters Springs Shut Down by Hundreds of Manatees 

by Anna Norris

As temperatures have dipped lower than usual for this time of year, a popular swimming spot in Florida was forced to close on Monday after a group of about 300 manatees congregated at Three Sisters Springs to enjoy the balmy waters.

Like penguins, manatees form huddles in the warm springs when the temperatures are a bit too cold for their liking. The Crystal River park closed to allow the manatees to rest undisturbed.

“We have a record number this year,” Laura Ruettiman, an environmental education guide at Three Sisters Springs, told USA Today. “We have 150 more manatees here than have ever been recorded in the past…”

(read more: The Weather Channel)

photos: USFWS, Keith Ramos, and the U.S. Geological Survey

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Harvester ants are restless, enigmatic architects

Why do Florida harvester ants dig complex, curly nests again and again?

by Susan Milius

Florida harvester ants “make a nest that is truly beautiful in its architecture,” says Walter Tschinkel. He has poured molten metal or plaster into the underground nests and dug up the hardened casts to reveal their multilevel shapes. Much about these ant nests, however, defies explanation.

For reasons still unknown, colonies of Florida harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex badius) abandon their lovely nests about once a year and dig a new one. At a study site Tschinkel calls Ant Heaven, the colonies typically move about two to six meters away from their old homes.

He and his students at Florida State University in Tallahassee have found no pattern to the shifts: no tendency to escape tree shade or seek more of it, or to edge away from big neighbor colonies. And the new nests look like the old ones: a tight cluster of interconnected, cookie-shaped chambers that dangle more chambers below on spiraling tendrils of tunnels…

(read more: Science News)

photographs by Alex Wild and Charles F. Badland